I started my vacation the Wednesday following the election. I watched the returns with my arms around my BFF, Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonay. The two of us have enjoyed a long history together with Sonoma C. comforting me through more than a few tense times. And she did not let me down Tuesday night as I fretted, fumed, and fiddled with the remote control changing channels for election results. The results of the election are the stuff of another post, however.
My husband and I have been in the election biz for more than 30 years. Early November finds us, and about 600 other political consultants on planes, trains and cruise ships leaving behind the scarred psyches of ordinary people traumatized by snarky television ads and mail pieces describing the mothers of opposing candidates as cheaters and child molesters.
Our “Cultural Cuba” cruise launched from Miami so we took the opportunity to visit dear friends. Stan, also a political pundit, is an expert in wine and scotch. He also fancies fine dining. Just entering Dade County my mouth starts to water anticipating the exquisite food and wine in store for me. And I was not disappointed. Lunch at the Alhambra style 1927 Biltmore Hotel featured bacon wrapped scallops and a white wine so crisp and cool I drank half of the bottle myself.
The Bazaar Mar is a Michelin Star rated restaurant owned by James Beard award winning chef Jose Andres. Andres was featured in a story entitled “We Fed an Island” describing the 18 kitchens he set up all over the island of Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Working with the World Central Kitchen and 20,000 volunteers he served $150,000 meals a day during his three-month tenure on his native island. In total they served three million meals.
The meal consisted of course after course of small plates each with excruciating flavor profiles (Stan’s words not mine). Every fifteen minutes during our four hour gastro experience multiple apron clad waiters with choreographed precision, deposited an array of delicacies such as an Asian taco on a kale chip with ham, cured yellow tail tuna, and caviar; or Cobia “Rosa” ceviche;
the tiniest of sugar cones filled with salmon mousse; and something called a Neptune’s Pillow.
“How do you feel about sparklers?” Stan asked early into the evening. As if he was David Copperfield the waiter magically produced a bottle of icy brut champagne. There was also a White Blend of seven, eight or nine grapes, rounding out our alcohol consumption. (Oh, did I mention we first met in the bar (featuring a gilled bull wall sculpture, for cocktails featuring concoctions such as a “salt air foamed margarita)
A deconstructed key lime pie, shaved grapefruit ice, and the requisite chocolate soufflé put an end to our food intake (and my stomach’s ability to process food). Fortunately our Aloft Hotel was a few blocks away providing a way for our bodies to move around a few of the 3,000 calories we had just ingested. In the distance I saw a neon green P flashing like a beacon. “It’s a Publix!” (Florida grocery store) I cheered. I can get some Pepto-Bismol and Perrier!
I’m 65, this drinking and dining lifestyle is out of my league.